Dealing with a Difficult Condo Board Member
First – it’s important to remember that the Condominium Board plays a valuable role in a Condo community. They maintain the standards and operations of the condominium, and in order to do that – the board needs to be cohesive, and operate as a unified group.
Of course, when you have board members from within the ownership of your units, you’ll experience a diverse collection of backgrounds and personalities. These different points of view will inevitably lead to disagreements. These disagreements can result in constructive discussion, or destructive arguments if allowed to go too far. Destructive events can damage relationships between members and even other owners.
If allowed to continue too long, division and and dissent among board members can become toxic, preventing the real and necessary work of the board from continuing. If you find you have a difficult board member – there are some tactics that can help move things forward.
Learning to work with Disruptive Board Members
There are some common behaviours that lead to a feeling of disruption, or that one could be seen as ‘difficult’.
- Lack of punctuality for meetings
- Controlling, Overbearing
- Failure to perform Duties
If you recognize some of these behaviours, or want to guard against them in future – consider some of the solutions below.
Solutions for Difficult Board Members
In the moment – work with the member to determine the cause of the issue. Try to stay professional, and be willing to listen. While being receptive to the problems, ensure that the member understands what behavior will and will not be tolerated. Often simply letting members know how they are perceived may cause them to re-think their approach to discussions.
Ensure that the board member is fully aware of their expected duties, and the concerns they may have regarding fulfillment of those duties. Ensure that the member has the time and ability to perform the responsibilities of their role. If a member feels that they are ‘in too deep’ it can often result in a complete failure to complete the responsibilities of their role, and spiral.
Work with board members having trouble by talking through the consequences of failure to complete tasks. If a member disagrees with a course of action, give them the responsibility of finding a solution to achieve the goals in another way. Empowering them may provide some of the ‘worth’ in the tasks.
If needed – redefine roles. If a board assignment isn’t working out – the board must take action to re-organize to ensure that responsibilities are addressed. Consider a special meeting to re-affirm the goals of the board, and the values that define the boards activity. Remind members that their roles are important to the community, and that a positive role in achieving those goals is needed.
Many boards also include within their bylaws certain guiding ‘rules’ for the conduct and performance of board roles.
These will include:
- When new board members join, consider a statement ensuring that members understand expectations and the ethical implications of their position on the board.
- Minimum attendance requirements
- Rules of discussion to minimize un-necessary chat
- Attendace records to identify those actively skipping meetings
- Procedures to support a leave of absence from the board if needed
- Formal agendas with time limits for meetings to ensure issues are addressed in a timely manner
Also helpful is a recognized process for selection of board members, taking into account experience and skills. A brief orientation process may also be created so that new members are given the best opportunity to be productive right away. Of course, every board should have within it’s bylaws a means of removing a member of the board who has failed to take advantage of opportunities to work with the group.
Condominium Management Support
Condominium Boards are both a requirement, and a benefit to condominium communities. When the board is working well, they ensure a positive, organized approach to management of a condominium corporation. The board provides residents with security, clarity, consistency, and a positive future direction.
It’s always an option to hire a Manager with Board Experience to support your Board in their regular operation. Condominium Management companies can help ease difficulties within a board, supplying experience and knowledge from an outside perspective. They can take some of the workload off of the board members, and can assist with the legal and accounting responsibilities – allowing your board to manage day-to-day issues.
Prince Property has the capacity to support your board – Contact Sandi to learn more about how Prince Property can work with your Board!